Welcome to the varied worlds of Wart Bellamy, a wonderfully sane individual in an increasingly insane existence; where spectral visitors, gigantic beasts and an other-worldly, insane asylum, replete with a deliciously dark doctor who wouldn’t be out of place in a Kafka tale abound. Wart is, seemingly, an unfortunate ‘normal’ man plucked from his own life by a giant monster that emerges from a frozen lake – much like the Lady of the Lake but with a much different outcome than King Arthur experienced.
The story is part horror, part comedy, part surreal and part HUGE MONSTERS, all of which mashes together really nicely – the style of the story does work well. In places, it really draws you into the twisted existence of Wart and leaves you wanting more.
Ammar’s art fits the Wart story well; this is an artist who thoroughly enjoys monstrosity and when you have spectral aberrations rubbing shoulders with a giant Cyclops you need someone with a good grasp of the monstrous. Panels are nicely laid out and good thought has gone into conveying the appropriate feel to the art – use of light and shadow, in particular, are well employed.
However, there are a few draw backs with this book. The story was originally a page by page web comic and the pacing of these vignettes is carried over to the collected edition. This has the effect of jarring the story somewhat. I do feel that the book has some excellent qualities, when the writing hits the heights, it really engages; though I think the inclusion of an editor to tighten the book would have been a boon.
Criticisms aside, Wart is a nice story. I’m curious to see how Chris Welsh progresses the story going forward. With the air of intrigue, with a somewhat Prisoner feel to the book, you are never on a sure footing. This is intentional from the writer and does give the reader the desire to ‘know more’ – plus, when you read the ‘extra’ section at the end of the book, there is even more intrigue to see where this story goes. I hope to see more of Wart and his unfortunate journey; monsters, ghosts and a friendly rat aside, what is Wart Bellamy’s fate and, with that fate, what will it mean for all of the parties who have taken varying levels of interest in ‘our’ Wart?